Monday, March 28, 2011

Otter Creek Alpine Black IPA

Today Beer! tastes another Black IPA, the Otter Creek Alpine Black IPA:

Brewery: Otter Creek
Location: Middlebury, VT
Style: Black IPA
Brewery Website
Rating: A-

We're following up on our recent review of the perfect Heavy Seas Black Cannon with another Black IPA. Today we have the Otter Creek Alpine Black IPA on tap. The Alpine Black is ebony-amber in color with a thick, foamy dark-tan head. There is a considerable amount of chunky sediment as well, so take care in pouring if you prefer not to have it in your glass. The nose has the classic grapefruit note of Cascade hops along with some smoke.

On the palate the Alpine Black IPA has a long initial fruity lead-in before bitter and smoky notes start to roll in. Hops provide citrus fruitiness and a mild kick of juniper/bitter hop resin. Smoke and roast notes are here, but mainly play a support role to the hops. Also notable are yeast notes and a touch of residual sweetness. The Alpine Black IPA is medium-bodied and juicy, making this a very drinkable beer. The finish has a squirt of lemon over bitter hops notes and black coffee.

In contrast to the Black Cannon that we recently reviewed, the Otter Creek Alpine Black IPA is really more of a fruity IPA with some smokiness as a highlight rather than equal parts porter and IPA. This is just as effective of an interpretation of the style, as the smoke and roasted coffee-like bitterness really play well in supporting the hops-forward flavors of an IPA. The Alpine Black is a great beer with some great flavor. I'm really liking this Black IPA style. I hope more breweries follow the lead that breweries like Otter Creek and Clipper City have set, because there is a wide range of interpretations possible on this style and I want to taste them all.

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